All About Term-Time Working
Term-time working is designed primarily to help parents of school-age children work only when their children are at school. That means giving them on average 13 weeks of time off per year, allowing them to be with their children during the summer, Christmas and Easter holidays, as well as during all half-term breaks.
If you think that sounds fantastic, it is - although the leave is unpaid. For many working mums, however, working term-time can be a godsend. Unfortunately, not many companies allow their employees to work term-time hours, so not a lot of parents can swing it.
Is it Worth it?Parents considering term-time working have to think first about the financial considerations. You must take into account the amount of money you would spend on childcare during those 14 weeks, and subtract it from the amount of money you will lose by not working during that time.
- Saving on childcare may make working term-time financially worth it, but then again it may not. Take into account that by earning less money you may fall into a different tax bracket, which may make the option more worthwhile than it would be otherwise.
- Sometimes working term-time is not so difficult financially as it may appear. If one parent works part-time or freelance, for example, they may be able to work extra hours when the term-time working partner is off. That would help make up for the loss or earning you would incur.
- Of course, parents do not work term-time purely for financial reasons. It gives working mums – and dads – 13 weeks on average to spend with their children, and allows them to go on long holidays with them they would otherwise not be able to have.
- Some firms can hire in temporary employees who only work during term-term to do your work while you're away. That way, everyone benefits.
Asking your EmployerTerm-time working has some benefits for employers, believe it or not. Still, getting a term-time job is still rare. Several larger companies, such as the BBC, Prudential, Shell UK and Littlewoods, offer the scheme to employees, as well as many non-profits and charities. But many don't.
More enlightened firms may seem offering term-time working as the moral thing to do, as well as a solid way to retain some employees who otherwise would leave to take care of their children. Some companies, especially those which are struggling or on tight budgets, may also welcome the chance to pay employees less, and not having to pay to recruit and hire new people.
Additionally, term-time working can engender loyalty among staff, and keep the staff attrition rare low. It also be beneficial when there is a project that needs to be completed within a specified period of time. Ask your employer if such a scheme exists at your job. If a precedent has already been set, you have a better chance. If not, find out why not.
- If you work term-time, it is not like seasonal employment. You will have the same rights, benefits and other considerations other employees have, and would keep the contract you had before you went term-time, with some revisions.
- Most term-time employees are paid like teachers – they get their salary spread out throughout the year. So although you will earn less, there will not be long periods of time when you are earning nothing.
- Some people choose to work only during term-time to save on childcare costs. This can be a great solution if one partner has term-time off, meaning you never have to get in childcare and you can make up for the loss of earnings they would incur by having the other partner work during that time.
Term-time working is a flexible way to work that can benefit parents of school-age children. Most term-time jobs are available only in the education sector, but more and more other businesses are realising the benefits of such a scheme. For parents striving to have a decent work/life balance, term-time working can provide exactly that.